FoodShare Union County

    FoodShare Union County

    The Robinhood Group established FoodShare Union in June 2021.

    From January to August 2022 FoodShare Union County has sold over 2,000 boxes of fresh, locally grown produce to 175 residents and this is with taking the month of May off to move into our permanent location. Our program purchases most of produce from local farmers, who sell at the Union County Farm & Craft Market, which means we are also increasing the income of small, rural, farmers as well as providing ‘just picked’ items to our neighbors. Items not from local farmers are usually (bananas, apples, oranges, lemons). Most of our customers are SNAP recipients which enables us to help low-income families access fresh produce at a great price. SNAP recipients are able to purchase a small produce box for $5 and large for $10, the statewide Healthy Bucks SNAP Incentive program supplements the $10 balance. Each Fresh Food Box comes with a recipe flyer, on how to use the produce contents that week, in a different and often healthier way, prepared by SNAP-Ed, Elise Ashby or Dilia Mosquera (2022 Teacher of the Year at UCHS). Ms. Mosquera is a native of Colombia and works with us to introduce traditional Colombian dishes (made with local produce) to Union County. Additionally, as we add unfamiliar produce to the boxes, we provide tastings, at the Union Farm & Craft Market, which help our neighbors enjoy new fruits and vegetables, like butternut and spaghetti squashes, pumpkin, eggplant and kiwi.

    Another exciting benefit of FoodShare is being able to help our neighbors and family members reduce illnesses. FoodShare South Carolina was awarded a five-year grant to improve South Carolinians’ access to fresh, healthy food as a foundational step to decreasing the impact of diabetes on the state. In Union County with a population is 27,316, the diabetes rate is 12.2%, 47% of adults are classifies as obese and we have a children poverty rate of 32%. In comparison South Carolina’s overall diabetes rate of 8%, 20% adult obesity rate and only 15% of children living in poverty, Union County is falling behind on these key health indicators. FoodShare Union County is providing a great service to the County, an awesome benefit to residents and increasing income for farmers and keeping revenue in the County.

    In 2022 FoodShare Union has secured funding to provide Fresh Produce Bags for the UCSD’s 2,000 student households (funding from Executive Director, Elise Ashby); 900 Fresh Produce Bags for low-income residents (funding from Save the Children) and 5,000 Fresh Produce Bags for elderly residents (funding from AARP Community Challenge). Beginning in 2023 FoodShare Union along with FoodShare hubs in Greenville, Spartanburg and Williamsburg partnered with FoodShare SC and local medical facilitators to facilitate the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) Veggie Rx prescription program to combat diabetes in the participating counties.

    We Need More K9 Hero’s – That Successfully Save Children And Stop Those Who Are Hurting Them!

    We Need More K9 Hero’s – That Successfully Save Children And Stop Those Who Are Hurting Them!


     Sniff. Point. Cuff.

    K9 Officer, Queue, and Sergeant Michael Rainey with Greenville County Sheriff’s Office are heroes once again! The duo just completed another home search of an alleged sex offender as part of Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Only the Electronic Detection K9’s snout can smell hidden electronic evidence that proves sex offenders, traffickers, or child pornographers guilty. 

         The New Electronic Detection K9s are trained to signal officers by pointing their noses at Micro SD cards, thumb drives, hidden cameras, phones, and computers. One device can hold countless images and videos of live children being abused. Founder of Defenders for Children, Toni Clark says, “On average, the K9s locate two electronic devices missed by law enforcement per search. There’s a high probability the evidence located will be needed for prosecution.”

         Clark says, “One sexual perpetrator or sex trafficker can abuse nine or more children. Victims’ ages range from babies and up.” It’s extremely important to stop them before they abuse again.

          Child pornography is growing at alarming rates. Sergeant Michael Rainey and his team of investigators fight daily to keep children safe. With help from the community, Clark’s goal is to continue to donate K9s to law enforcement agencies in 2022 – 2023. Clark says, “The K9s are a powerful tool needed in every search to help save and protect children while stopping those who are hurting them.

         There are currently Six local Electronic Detection K9s just like Queue. While Queue resides in Greenville, his co-partners in crime fighting are spread throughout the state and one in Georgia. K9 Darcy lives in Bryan, GA; K9 Sata in Spartanburg; K9 Oakley in Richland; K9 Spiller in Anderson; K9 Cypher in Charleston. Clark says, “Our Six K9s have located an estimated 540 hidden electronic devices!” 

         The Seventh Electronic Detection K9 is sponsored by Charter Communications and will be announced later this fall. The new K9 team member will be the FIRST State Level K9 for South Carolina State Law Enforcement to work with Probation, Parole and Pardons. A cocktail party will celebrate the new addition in November. Clarks says, “The dogs we have placed across the state are from the support of the people in the Upstate.” Now, Clark needs help spreading the word across the Nation. 

    Launching Soon!

    “Defenders On The Road” Taking Our Message Across The Nation

         We are excited to launch our new “Defenders On The Road” Program in March 2023, which will deeply impact our community and surrounding areas. 

         Swamp Rabbit Moving is dedicating 18 to 20 moving trucks to the pilot launch with more trucks coming soon. The trucks will display a full graphic including a QR code leading to a landing page to create awareness, details on how to report abuse and trafficking, encourage more donations and guide victims to receive help. Each truck will display a different impactful image and be seen by millions of eyes per year while on the move across the Southeast. One truck a day can have 30,000 impressions with 98 percent of drivers noticing truck graphics.   

    How can you help?

         “Defenders On The Road” Sponsorship Packages offer a wide variety of visibility opportunities. Packages range to company logos on a truck, and on the QR code landing page. Other packages include sponsorship logos present at the exciting launching event where we display the trucks for the first time, tickets to events, photos with the K9s, and more.  “Defenders On The Road” Sponsorship and donations will help fund the placement of additional Electronic Detection K9s. 

    Graphic Design Contest

         The “Defenders On The Road” Program is hosting a graphic design contest that will allow individuals, students and companies to submit powerful graphics and messages to be seen by millions nationwide over the years. A prize will be given to the first and second place winners. 

          Toni pleads, “It’s time for us to focus on our children.” They need our help more now than ever. South Carolina court cases for sex crimes against children have reached 2,086 child cases vs. 769 adult cases in one year. The conviction rate was as low as 27.8 percent with cases needing more evidence to convict the criminals.

    ” The most important part of healing our children is preventing it from happening at all” 

         Scan the QR code within the photo to donate and access the website.

    Did You Know?

    • Established in 2010, Defenders For Children has donated 98% of all proceeds to our programs
    • Electronic Detection K9, Spiller, is named after former Clemson Tigers football player and current Assistant Coach of Running Backs, CJ Spiller. Sponsored By Dabo’s All In Team Foundation.
    • Because the traffickers and predators travel, we need to place more K9s in the adjacent states. 
    • Any donation big or small will have a huge impact on the community and children’s lives
    • If the entire cost of a dog ($21,000) is donated, the group or individual can name the dog and leave a lasting legacy behind. This covers the cost of a K9 and training, handler training and, other cost to help with placement. 
    • The Average K9 works for eight or more years saving children and stopping criminals.

    Be a Child’s Hero In Our Community By Donating Today!  

    Help support Sergeant Michael Rainey and K9 Officer, Queue, along with the rest of the K9 team to continue searching for solid evidence against predators and protect God’s innocent children and take our message across the Nation. 

    Toni Clark, 1140 Woodruff Rd, Suite 106, P.O. Box 108, Greenville, SC 29607. 


    Charity Tax ID: 27-3388956


    Calling all Upstate Young Pros: Join us at PIQUE 2022!

    Calling all Upstate Young Pros: Join us at PIQUE 2022!


    “Zoom fatigue” has become a real thing over the past two years.

    In March 2020, the world was put on pause, we packed up our office supplies, and headed home – where many of us set up makeshift offices.

    Never did we expect the sheer volume of in-person events and gatherings we would miss over the next several months.

    Zoom, Teams, WebEx, and FaceTime began to consume us, especially at work.

    Conferences and networking events went virtual.

    Did we ever think we would see the day when a networking event was virtual? Really? 

    For example, in 2021, after postponing a year, PIQUE (the young pros arm of Ten at the Top) held its annual networking event…virtually.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, we had a fantastic keynote speaker, learned a ton, and are thankful for were thankful for our guests and attendees who were able to join us.

    But let’s all be honest with ourselves. Virtual networking events just aren’t the same.

    Even as we began to emerge from the pandemic, handshakes have become fist bumps, and many employees aren’t going to the office nearly as much as they used to.

    So much has changed, and even today, various facets of our personal and professional interactions remain different than prior to the pandemic. 

    However, as co-chair of the PIQUE committee, I am thrilled to announce Ten at the Top’s signature networking event for young professionals is back!

    That’s right – we will be in person this year on Monday, October 3, from 1 – 7pm ET at the Huguenot Mill and Loft in downtown Greenville.

    Having attended PIQUE back in 2018 (prior to my involvement as co-chair), I can say that as a young pro looking to meet network, share ideas, forge new relationships withother young pros, and hear from some of the Upstate’s most influential leaders…this is the event you don’t want to miss. 

    What’s unique about PIQUE is that it’s open to such a wide range of ages – generally from some of the youngest pros just launching their careers, to 10–15-year seasoned professional who are now beginning to lead others within their organizations. It’s an experience that can appeal to so many.

    This year’s event will kick off at 1pm ET, featuring three breakout panels and executive roundtables, a “LinkedIn Lounge” (strictly for networking and meeting fellow peers), and an engaging keynote speaker and thought leader, Jonathan Parker, who has previously presented at TEDx events and taught audiences all over the world.

    A networking reception will round out the evening from 5 – 7pm. 

    I want to invite all who are reading this to either join us on October 3 or share this with your team members and other young pros within your organization.

    And hey, if you see me there, maybe we can shake hands…or at least rock a fist bump and enjoy some conversation!

    More details and ticket information can be found here. 

    Jason Weidman, PIQUE Committee Co-Chair
    Director of Communications, Purpose Financial



    readySC™ is one of the nation’s premier economic development training programs.

    Since 1961, we’ve helped thousands of companies across the state start-up or expand quickly and efficiently by providing comprehensive, custom-designed workforce recruiting and training solutions. 

    Working in tandem with sixteen local technical colleges, our Apprenticeship Carolina program and our e-Zone job retraining program, we strive to take our client organizations’ workforce from initial start-up or early production to 100% proficiency.

    readySC will work with the organization through our proven 3D process, which includes:



    readySC works with the company to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities needed…and to define the culture and working environment the organization wants to create at the new facility.



    We then design training to meet those specific needs. readySC doesn’t just deliver training; we integrate the organization’s principles into every facet of the project so that the resulting recruiting and training plan is specifically customized.

    Our goal is to help companies start production with employees who are already immersed in the culture and processes. 



    readySC is completely flexible in our delivery options…Hands-on simulations of the working environment; computer-based training; workstation training; virtual recreations of the work processes; hand-held video delivery options or classroom training.

    We work with organizations to determine the right solution.


    SCTECHJOBS.COM is a recruitment service provided by readySC for our client organizations.

    This online application system provides information about all current training opportunities. 

    On average, over 40,000 online applications are taken each year through the site.


    readySC by the Numbers:


    Over 5,300 trained last fiscal year

    115 companies served last fiscal year

    Over 310,000 trained since 1961

    49% African American; 38% Caucasian; 13% Other

    37% Female; 63% Male

    36 Average Age

    12.7 Average Education

    Charles Lea Center’s Technology Approach Helping Others

    Charles Lea Center’s Technology Approach Helping Others

     By Lois R. Durrah, M.A., LPC, NCC Senior Vice President Community Supports Services 

    Since 1971, the Charles Lea Center has played a crucial role by helping thousands of Spartanburg County residents with intellectual disabilities or chronic medical conditions succeed in life.

    What started as a mission to help children with disabilities has blossomed into an organization committed to helping people of all ages.

    When working with individuals and their families, we heard a consistent theme of feedback – just like everyone else, they wanted a sense of independence. 


     Leveraging Technology 

    Never content with doing things as they’ve always been done, the Charles Lea Center works to find creative solutions to providing services.

    Staff quickly realized they could leverage the growing technology offerings and implement them into the daily lives of individuals to give that freedom and independence.

    Technology, like an Amazon Echo device that we take for granted, can serve a vital role in providing the freedom to let those with disabilities lead normal lives.

    The Center has made incredible progress over the years putting the technology to work that has allowed many individuals to live on their own without 24/7 assistance. 


    Work Options 

    The Charles Lea Center also provides job training to the individuals we serve.

    The Center has also worked to create jobs within our organization that offer services to local businesses and industries.

    This allows those we serve to earn a paycheck and feel a level of confidence they didn’t have prior.

    Through our innovative Career Start and Charles Lea Industries, we are helping grow our job market. 


     Getting Noticed 

    Over the last decade, the Charles Lea Center has grown into a national leader in providing the supports to help those being served.

    Five years ago, the state of North Carolina reached out to Charles Lea Center leaders to inquire about how it implemented these unique elements into the system.

    That discussion led to a pilot program to provide supports in the Tarheel State.

    The Charles Lea Center began to methodically roll out services in Greenville and Wilmington, North Carolina and is now serving a growing number of people in eastern North Carolina.

    Other states have also taken notice and are now using the Charles Lea Center’s expertise to expand their services. 


     The Work Isn’t Done 

     While being considered a national leader, the Charles Lea Center isn’t sitting idly by and offering the services and supports already in place.

    The organization continues to grow and look for creative ways to give individuals the tools they need to feel like they are a part of the community.

    The Charles Lea Center is committed to supporting individuals with disabilities where they live, work, and play. 


    Upcoming Events 

    The Charles Lea Center Foundation will host Road Rally 36 “Homegrown & Locally Owned”, on Sunday, October 2, 2022.

    This annual event is the longest running fundraiser in Spartanburg.

    Proceeds go to benefit initiatives for persons with disabilities. 

    Career Start Employment Training Center will host its Open House.

    Representatives from the seven school districts and McCarthy-Teszler School will participate in a tour and informational showcasing the use of technology for employment skills development. 

    Cyber Security for the Small to Medium Business (SMB) Segment

    Cyber Security for the Small to Medium Business (SMB) Segment

    It should be no surprise that large companies spend enormous amounts to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.
    The main reasons are to protect their IP (Intellectual Property), to keep their company and networks from becoming compromised, and to protect the interest of their employees, customers, and shareholders. 

    Too often, folks in the SMB segment are most fearful of the cost to recover their data should systems be compromised, like a ransomware attack, for example.
    In many cases, however, it’s not the goal of a hacker to just encrypt systems hoping for a reward.
    Most times the critical data is backed up and can be recovered.
    But, if the IP of a company is lost, then there is long-term risk to survival.  In many cases, foreign countries sponsor cyber terrorism to gain the intellectual property of a company.  

    Likewise, stealing personal information opens the door to credit and identity theft.
    This type of cyber-attack could be in the form of hijacking critical personal data like Social Security Info and other data to be used against individuals.  

    Smaller businesses are not able to afford the same type of security measures that large companies employ, so in many cases, getting information from SMB companies may be substantially easier – even if the payoff is not as much.
    Keep in mind that the nation-states and foreign actors have a lot of time, and a lot of patience.
    Infiltrating several small businesses could easily be more profitable than hacking one larger company.
    So, it’s not a good idea for a smaller company to just “hope for the best”.

    Trust me.
    Your Antivirus Product is not sufficient to stop a cyber-attack.
    The “Bad Guys” are not really interested in simply encrypting your computer.
    That’s usually a way to extort extra money from you after they have harvested your company’s (and personal) data – which is the real goal.
    If I can collect enough information about you, and your company’s IP, then they can certainly use that information in future efforts to harm you.
    There are many ways for a hacker to get your information.  

    Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Do you use your work email account to access personal information like banking or credit card websites?  What about Social media sites?
    • Does your mobile phone have a pass code or facial recognition and is it enabled?
    • Do you have multi-factor authentication on email, credit card, bank, and social media accounts?
    • Does your mobile phone account (Verizon, AT&T, etc) have a PIN Number so that no one have your phone number transferred?
    • Is your email filtered, and is your email account backed up?
    • Are links in your email filtered through a system that checks for malicious content?
    • Is your email monitored so that someone is notified if a forwarding rule is created?
    • What if someone from a foreign country log onto your email?
    • Do you store sensitive information in your email?

    You see, all of these are what we call “threat vectors” and your antivirus program simply has no way to protect you from any event resulting from threats that simply don’t run on your computer!
    In fact, access to your computer may not even be necessary.

    So, what is a small company to do?
    There are several prudent steps that even a small company can take to strengthen their security posture.
    Many business insurance companies are including cyber insurance in their policies, but to qualify for this insurance, they are requiring certain protocols be in place.

    1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication on your Microsoft (or Google) accounts so logging into your account becomes much more difficult for an intruder.
    2. Monitor the network traffic in your company by a Security Operations Center (SOC).  Data like this is usually sent in “log files” to a system called a “SEIM” (Security Information and Event Management) which is a system used by security analysts so that unusual behavior is detected, and someone is alerted if action is needed.   Analysts match “normal” versus “unusual” behavior and can flag unusual behavior.
    3. Have the logs from your company’s firewall monitored by a SIEM / SOC so that if security events occur then action is taken.  Potentially lock your firewall down so that no traffic from foreign countries can even get through.  (This is not foolproof, but it is a great deterrent)
    4. Make your Office 365 tenant monitored to make sure your account is not being accessed from offshore, and that email forwarding rules are not created.  (This is a typical attack – to set up forwarding rules in your email so that sensitive email is sent to a hacker, rather than going to your “inbox”)
    5. Your Antivirus program should likewise be monitored by a SIEM / SOC.  

    The reality is that most of the activity that we want to stop happens when we are not at work.  That’s why having your systems monitored 24×7 is critical.  If a cyber-attack occurs on a weekend, they bad guys would have many uninterrupted hours to do damage.

    If you’re concerned about cyber security, want a cyber-security audit, or if your business insurance carrier is requiring these protections to write your policy – please feel free to contact us. 

    We would be happy to help!